At the National Cabernet Franc Wine Competition held in December 2020, Grizzly Peak Winery earned a Gold Medal and Best of Class by the People’s Choice Judges. This was a blind competition with two sets of judges. The Professional Judge’s awarded them a Silver Medal. A great accomplishment knowing that twenty quality wines were in the Category I (priced at $30 and less) from around the United States. The Judges also awarded the 2015 Grizzly Peak Winery Cabernet Franc a Bronze Medal. This was their first entry into this wine competition.
The winery is located in Oregon’s Rogue Valley AVA on 40 beautiful hillside acres. The winey was established by Al and Virginia Silbowitz and the vineyard planted in 1998. Situated on the east side of Highway 5 at an elevation of 2200 feet with breathtaking views of Grizzly Peak and Mt Ashland, the winery enjoys warm summers and cool evenings.
The winemaker is Linda Donovan, graduate of UC Davis in enology. She produces the wines at her custom crush facility called Pallet Wine Company. The 2014 Cabernet Franc has won at other events, Double Gold and Best of Class. Other wines have won awards at Oregon’s Toast of the Coast competition. In talking with Virginia, she mentioned that the Rhone varietals do exceptionally well in their location. She referred specifically to their Marsanne/Roussanne blend and their Syrah wines. An interesting note is that this area now has over 70 wineries.
In their portfolio of yearly production of around 3,000 cases, they also produce Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Malbec, white Cab Franc, white Tempranillo, Chardonnay, Viognier, Pinot Gris and a Syrah Rose.
The Cabernet Franc represents a lighter and more subtle Cabernet Franc described as being a “European style”. On the eyes a soft and almost translucent red color and a light to medium viscosity. On the nose and palate soft fragrances of raspberry and plum. The finish, perhaps due to the combination of volcanic and alluvial soils, present almost an absence of tannins but did possess a soft bell pepper flavor. The finish was medium long and airy with a soft minerality. This worked perfectly for the food pairing!
The Food Pairing with the 2014 Cabernet Franc
Paired with a pappardelle pasta and homemade Bolognese sauce simmered for 6 hours. Accompanied by a fresh garden salad with blue cheese dressing. The spicy and flavorful sauce using diced pancetta, chopped onion, celery, carrot, garlic, thyme, ground pork, ground beef, red wine, bay leaves, tomato puree and other items contrasted and embraced the 2014 Grizzly Peak Cabernet Franc perfectly. Garnished with fresh parmesan, Romano and asiago cheeses. I do not believe this would work with many Cab Francs of stronger flavors with sharper and distinct tannins. However this wine was versatile and welcoming to perhaps some typical unconventional food pairings associated with Cabernet Franc’s.
Next up on my list to do is to try their Marsanne/Roussanne blend as well as a Pinot Noir from Grizzly Peak Winery.